[Screen It]


(2000) (Russell Crowe, Meg Ryan) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Mild Minor Extreme None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Moderate Moderate Moderate Extreme

Drama/Suspense: An expert in hostage and ransom matters tries to bring a woman's kidnapped husband back home safely.
Peter Bowman (DAVID MORSE) is an American engineer working in a Latin American country building a dam with the help of Quad Carbon, an oil company wanting to run a pipeline through the country of Tecala. While Peter's busy at work, his wife Alice (MEG RYAN) isn't a happy camper. Not only does she have nothing to do in this, yet one more stop in yet another third world country, but also her marriage to Peter is strained, particularly after a recent miscarriage she had while in Africa.

Things get worse when an anti-government and drug harvesting terrorist group, the ELT, kidnaps Peter, believing him to be an important oil executive worthy of a hefty, multi-million dollar ransom. Unfortunately, he isn't, and to top off matters, it turns out that his company, that's going out of business, didn't insure him or his fellow workers against such developments.

With Peter's older sister, Janis Goodman (PAMELA REED) arriving in Tecala, Alice turns to professional kidnapping negotiator Terry Thorne (RUSSELL CROWE), who's just successfully retrieved another hostage from Chechnya. Unfortunately, his hands are tied by his superiors here who don't want him on a case that has no financial backing.

Despite that, Terry decides to take the case anyway, and with help of a fellow negotiator, Dino (DAVID CARUSO), he sets out to find out everything he can about Peter and prepare for his kidnappers' inevitable demands and ransom requests. While doing so, the kidnappers, including Juaco (PIETRO SIBILLE), the loose cannon of the bunch, move Peter further into the jungles where he eventually meets Eric Kessler (GOTTFRIED JOHN), a hostage who acts like a crazy man in order to survive what has become a nineteen month ordeal for him.

As the weeks wear on and Dino begins to suspect some possible romantic attraction between Terry and Alice, all of those involved do what they can to figure out where Peter's being held and then retrieve him as safely as possible.

Some teens might be drawn to it, as might those who are fans of anyone in the cast, but it's unlikely that this will become a big hit among kids.
For violence, language and some drug material.
  • MEG RYAN plays a married woman who seemingly gets romantically involved with the hostage negotiator she's hired to retrieve her recently kidnapped husband. She also smokes and uses strong profanity.
  • RUSSELL CROWE plays that mostly stoic negotiator who seemingly gets involved with his client (Alice), but is otherwise very professional in doing his job. He also uses strong profanity, briefly smokes and uses lethal violence while retrieving a hostage.
  • DAVID MORSE plays Alice's kidnapped husband who must cope with the several month ordeal of being a hostage. He also uses strong profanity and is briefly disrespectful to his wife before he's kidnapped.
  • PAMELA REED plays his high-strung, older sister who arrives on the scene hoping/wanting to help but finds everyone and everything agitating her.
  • DAVID CARUSO plays another hostage negotiator who loves playing commando and going in for the kill to retrieve hostages. He also uses strong profanity.
  • GOTTFRIED JOHN plays another hostage who feigns being crazy in order to cope with having been a hostage for nearly two years. He briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • PIETRO SIBILLE plays one of the kidnappers, a lose cannon sort of man who also uses strong profanity and drugs.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated film. Violence is listed as extreme due to many deaths (from gunshots, knifings and explosions) that occur during a commando raid sequence and other scenes. Some of that material has bloody/gory results (along with various sights of a man's bare feet that are very bloody/gory for other reasons), while various instances of non-lethal violence are also present.

    Those scenes and others may be rather tense or unsettling to some viewers, and those involved in the kidnapping obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes. It's also implied that the hostage's wife and the main negotiator are romantically involved (we briefly see them passionately kissing). Beyond that suggested affair, we briefly see what looks like a pornographic card (although we don't see anything explicit), some brief, but non-explicit glimpses of female skin, and some sexually related comments/gestures are made.

    Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of more than 40 "f" words, while other profanities and colorful phrases are also uttered. Various character drink and smoke, while the kidnappers are also noted as being drug farmers/dealers and one of them is occasionally seen smoking what's presumably a drug of some sort. Finally, some tense family moments are present in the form of a husband and wife arguing and her then worrying about her kidnapped husband.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who wishes to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • People have drinks at a dinner. Later that night, and during a heated argument, Peter tells Alice that she's drunk (we don't know if that's true or not, but do see a glass of wine near her).
  • An oil executive carries a drink.
  • Terry has a beer.
  • Alice asks Janis if she wants some wine but Janis says that she doesn't drink.
  • Some people drink in a bar, including Dino and another man who appears to be somewhat intoxicated.
  • Some people have drinks onboard a yacht, including Terry and his boss.
  • We learn that the kidnappers are also drug farmers/dealers, and we occasionally see one kidnapper, Juaco, smoking what's presumably some sort of drug. Someone later tells him that he's "stoned."
  • A servant woman drops a tray of beer when she hears a familiar voice on the radio.
  • Alice has a beer in front of her.
  • Alice drinks from Terry's glass of beer while others around them also drink.
  • After a mission is over, Dino tells someone to get him some Scotch.
  • We briefly see what looks like a dead body in a ditch.
  • We very briefly see a hostage's hands that appear to be bloody.
  • Terry has some blood on his face after receiving a cut above his brow during a rescue mission.
  • We see a bit of blood on two people who are shot and killed by machine gun fire.
  • We briefly see some blood on a car window.
  • A man's leg is bloody after he's been shot there.
  • After being hustled through some underbrush, Peter stops and pulls out a very bloody piece of wood or metal that's pierced his shoe/boot that's also very bloody.
  • Later, Peter pulls off his shoe/boot and his foot is very bloody/gross looking.
  • Peter's feet are very bloody/gross looking when we see them again and they're the same way later when Kessler washes them in a bowl (filled with bloody water).
  • We see some news footage of some bloody people.
  • A hidden booby trap sends some wooden stakes through Peter's leg (resulting in some blood).
  • Terry has some blood on him after killing a man with a knife.
  • We briefly see some bloody bullet wounds on people who are shot with machine guns.
  • We briefly see another hostage whose ear is all mangled up (from what the kidnappers had previously done to him).
  • Terry appears to have some blood on him after a grenade explodes nearby him.
  • All of the kidnappers, and those working with them, obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes for kidnapping Peter and others, as well as the way they treat their hostages.
  • Peter's company (while going out of business) and its successor have both for not attempting to help in getting Peter back from the kidnappers.
  • Peter has some of both toward Alice before he's kidnapped and as they have a heated argument (when he tells her to go back home by herself and to "get over" her recent miscarriage).
  • Terry and Alice passionately kiss before he sets off. Since they don't act like this is a new and sudden thing, it's heavily implied that they've done this before and are possibly having an affair.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore," as well as the many scenes featuring Peter as a hostage, may also be tense/unsettling for some viewers.
  • The kidnappers send Peter in a small cage contraption on a line high above a raging river (from one bank to the next).
  • A kidnapper threatens a defiant Peter with his machine gun, even going so far as to shooting all around him. What he ends up doing, however, is shooting one of his own men in the leg.
  • Terry, Alice and Janis run out to their car after a bomb threat empties a building.
  • Peter grabs a map while his captors are momentarily distracted and briefly copies some it while Kessler worries about them being caught. Kessler then barely manages to get it back to its original position before the captors return.
  • Peter and Kessler try to escape their captors and race through the woods with those captors chasing them with dogs and guns.
  • A hidden booby trap sends some wooden stakes through Peter's leg (resulting in some blood) and one of his captors then aims a gun at him (and we then hear a shot as the scene cuts away).
  • Commando forces slowly make their way through a jungle as they move in for a rescue operation and try not to be observed. After they are, all sorts of gunfire and other fighting breaks out (with many deaths) along with some "going to be caught" moments and chase scenes.
  • Machine guns/Automatic weapons/Handguns/Knives/Explosives: Carried and/or used by kidnappers/soldiers and Terry and his crew, etc. to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Tank: Used to fire upon a rescue helicopter.
  • Anti-tank gun: Used to fire upon a tank, eventually hitting it.
  • Grenade: Used to blow up a car.
  • Phrases (some in English subtitles): "I am f*cked," "F*ck this," "F*ck you," "What the f*ck are you doing?" "You f*cking idiot," "You're not f*cking with me," "What the f*ck was that?" "That's f*cking right," "Don't give me any sh*t," "Are you sh*tting me?" "Bullsh*t," "Doesn't give a sh*t about you," "Sh*tload," "Bloody hell," "I'm getting...screwed" (nonsexual), "Bastard(s)," "What the hell is going on?" "Where the hell have you been?" "They kick ass," "Idiot" "Bitch" (toward men and women), "Jeez," "Shut up," "What the hell (does that mean/is that)?" "Who the hell is that?" and "You big, beautiful bitch" (what a man calls a helicopter upon seeing it).
  • It's possible some kids could get the idea to kidnap someone for a ransom, hoping to make some quick and "easy" bucks doing so.
  • Peter gives one of his captors "the finger."
  • A sudden, large explosion may startle some viewers.
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • None.
  • Some of the profanities listed here appear as English subtitles.
  • At least 44 "f' words (1 used with "mother"), 35 "s" words, 2 slang terms using female genitals ("p*ssy"), 11 hells, 10 asses (7 used with "hole"), 5 damns, 2 craps, 7 uses of "G-damn," 5 of "Oh my God," 3 each of "Jesus" and "Oh God" and 2 each of "Christ" and "God" as exclamations.
  • Some kidnappers open a package expecting to find ransom money only to discover what look like pornographic cards (we briefly see what looks like a topless woman whose breasts are just barely covered).
  • A miscellaneous woman shows some cleavage.
  • We see part of Alice's breast as she rolls over/stretches in bed while wearing a tank top.
  • The camera briefly focuses on the outside, bare upper thigh of a woman in a high-cut dress as she sits in a bar.
  • In a bar drinking, Dino states that they're celebrating life, liberty and the ability to pursue (what sounded like) clitoris.
  • A male kidnapper rubs his chest while indicating where a dressed woman who's doing the wash should be washing herself (she doesn't).
  • Terry and Alice passionately kiss before he sets off. Since they don't act like this is a new and sudden thing, it's heavily implied that they've done this before and are possibly having an affair.
  • Alice smokes more than 5 times, Janis and Terry smoke once (although we see another lit cigarette next to Terry in a different scene), and various kidnappers and miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • Seeing how intense Janis is, Dino tells her to have a cigarette, stating that it might help.
  • Peter and Alice get into a heated argument (with profanity) about their situation (living in many different countries, her having a miscarriage a few months early, her having nothing to do while he works, etc.) with him eventually telling her to just go home.
  • We learn that Terry has a somewhat estranged relationship with his teenage son and evidently has nothing to do with the mother.
  • Alice and Janis worry about Peter after he's been kidnapped.
  • Kidnapping and the ensuing negotiation process of getting hostages back, and how prevalent such violent commando raids are.
  • Working in third world countries.
  • The apparent affair/involvement between Alice and Terry that occurs while both are trying to get her husband back.
  • A man shoots off a lock with his gun.
  • A kidnapper hits a hostage on the back of the head and then kicks him off the back of a stationary truck.
  • A military skirmish breaks out with a man firing an anti-tank gun at an approaching tank (the first shot misses and explodes next to it, the next shot hits the tank, causing it to explode). Meanwhile, another man fires a machine gun at approaching forces while another tank fires and hits a truck that then explodes. Other shooting and explosions then occur around Terry as he tries to get a hostage out of the scene. As a helicopter picks up the hostage, a tank fires at it several times with Terry hanging on to the outside of the chopper as it lifts off.
  • While sitting in a traffic jam, Peter witnesses a guard open fire with a machine gun on two people riding a motorcycle, killing both. Masked terrorists then descend upon the scene and kidnap various people, including Peter, at gunpoint. One terrorist throws a grenade below a car, causing it to explode.
  • We briefly see members of the ELT kidnapping other people at gunpoint (and briefly see some blood on a car window).
  • A terrorist shoots an old building with his machine gun.
  • A kidnapper grabs and pushes several of his associates in anger.
  • A local hostage negotiator's two thugs pull out their guns and aim them at Terry. Terry then elbows one and the negotiator then aims his gun at Terry. Dino then suddenly shows up with a shotgun and he and Terry then regain control of the situation and force the other men to leave at gunpoint.
  • A kidnapper threatens a defiant Peter with his machine gun, even going so far as to shooting all around him. What he ends up doing, however, is shooting one of his own men in the leg. A woman then smacks the shooter.
  • A kidnapper hits Peter's bloody feet with a stick to prevent him from smiling for a hostage photo.
  • A large explosion goes off in a downtown area.
  • A hidden booby trap sends some wooden stakes through Peter's leg (resulting in some blood).
  • A man is shot (in what looks like the shoulder) and he falls into a waterfall/river.
  • Alice hits Terry in the face.
  • Terry comes up behind a kidnapper and stabs him with a knife (and we then hear the slicing/gurgling sounds of him cutting his throat). Another commando then also stabs and kills another kidnapper.
  • Various commandos open fire on various kidnappers with machine guns, injuring or killing many of them. In turn, kidnappers return fire back at them with machine guns. During some of this shooting, various areas are hit that then result in explosions, and Terry sets up an explosive that injures or kills two men when detonated. A kidnapper fires some sort of missile at one commando, injuring him, and another throws a grenade that explodes and temporarily blinds one commando.

  • Reviewed November 30, 2000 / Posted December 8, 2000

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